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Thread: Question for frequent travelers...

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    Elite Member ConstanceSpry's Avatar
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    Default Question for frequent travelers...

    How far in advance do you buy your airline tickets? Do you save more money buying way in advance, or closer to the trip? Last year, bought tickets 3 months in advance and prices didn't go down between then and vacation time. Just to clarify, these would be US mainland to USVI.
    Last edited by ConstanceSpry; May 1st, 2015 at 06:25 PM. Reason: Forgot to add destination
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    If anyone can explain the intricate Byzantine mysteries of air ticket pricing I'd be interested too. There really is no logic. All I would say is that the cheapest deals are often the least flexible so "use it or lose it" and look out for hidden extras buried in the small print. For things like this I usually go to a big nationwide travel agent who have enough clout to get good prices and special deals too.
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    Well, it depends. If you're willing to take a gamble you might find a good deal on one of the travel sites close to the leave date, though it's a risky move as generally ticket prices go up closer to your travel date, and availability will most likely not be as flexible as you need.
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    Elite Member ConstanceSpry's Avatar
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    Darn, I thought there was some sort of globetrotter secret, but I guess not. We did go through a travel agent last year, it cost a few bucks extra and we got exactly the same ticket prices I could have bought through expedia or one of the other ticket shillers.
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    I'm wary of online bucket shops (that's what Expedia et al are) because if there are any problems you have nobody to whine to. You're on your own and if the trip gets screwed up for any reason, tough titty. For the sake of a few extra $$$ I like the reassurance of knowing someone's got my back if necessary.
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    Elite Member ConstanceSpry's Avatar
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    ^^Ha, that's exactly what cautious husband told me, thus the purchase through local travel agency. Just wish they'd be able to finagle cheaper ticket prices.
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    Silver Member firebrat1229's Avatar
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    Hell, I've been a travel agent for 25 years and I still can't answer that goddamn question.
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    Elite Member yanna's Avatar
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    Dunno what's the deal with internal flights in the US but I always buy tickets 2-3 months in advance if I can manage it. For Athens-Bergen with KLM or Lufthansa the difference can be from 240 EUR roundtrip to 500 EUR as early as 2 weeks before we need to fly. That's around Christmas time, though, so that probably plays a part too.
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    I want to understand flying "stand by." Do you just show up at the airport and hope for a seat? How come they don't charge you full price? You're obviously desperate.
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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    I've used Travelocity before and if anything goes wrong you to to the airline. I've never had a problem with them and have always found them to be reliable. The one time I had an issue was trying to buy a ticket for my mom and it kept refusing to let me so I called and they were lovely and resolved it. You can also buy insurance and put in all our frequent flyer info directly when you're buying the ticket and they often have way cheaper tickets than if you go directly through the airline.

    i always compare. I'll have several tabs open to different web pages and compare prices. Also, I fly to Canada a lot to see my sister and signed up for porter's seat sale emails.

    Also, allegedly the best day of the week to buy tickets online is Tuesday. Allegedly. It could be an urban legend.
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    Silver Member firebrat1229's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CornFlakegrl View Post
    I want to understand flying "stand by." Do you just show up at the airport and hope for a seat? How come they don't charge you full price? You're obviously desperate.
    That one I can answer. Years ago it was fairly common practice, nowadays not so much. Occasionally, if you already have a ticket and wish to go on an earlier flight, you can take yourself to the airport and be super gracious to the counter people and sometimes they'll let you do it for free.

    Some airlines have programs where you can confirm a seat on a different flight on the same originally scheduled day for about $50-75 US. The policies differ wildly by airline.

    The biggest US airline that still doesn't charge penalties is Southwest. That's not to say that you can make a free change, though. If you buy a non refundable ticket for, say $100.00 and you cancel it...you get that full amount toward rebooking within a year from the date it was issued - but you don't get your money back. You just pay the difference in fare for the new flight if its higher.

    The above isn't a bad deal when compared to other airlines, though. They will not only not refund the money, they will charge you a penalty (nowadays usually $200 for the majors) plus the difference in fare.

    Many people don't realize that, years ago, non-refundable meant TRULY non refundable. Unless a case of medical emergency or death of a family member (which they'd ask you to prove - seriously), you didn't get to reschedule it, even with a penalty. The money was simply gone.

    I'm rambling and getting off track. If ya'll have any questions on travel - feel free to PM me. I don't work on commission (I'm a corporate agent), so don't worry about a sales pitch.

    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    Also, allegedly the best day of the week to buy tickets online is Tuesday. Allegedly. It could be an urban legend.
    A lot of the travel blogs and so-called 'experts' do claim that. I've never noticed one way or the other, though.
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    I don't think buying a ticket way in advance lessens the amount of an airline ticket. it depends on the day of the week you want to leave and return, and also the season. Of course summertime is always the highest, (unless there is a special events going on at your destination during other seasons) as well as holidays. It's kind of like when gas prices tend to rise during certain holidays.
    I say try departing, and arriving on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Late morning, through 6pm-ish seems to have higher prices.
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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    ^^^^
    i've also noticed that if you want to leave friday afternoon/evening it's usually more than if you leave saturday morning. if i'm just leaving for a weekend i'll leave friday but if you're going for a longer trip you can save a couple of hundred (depending how far you're going) by leaving saturday morning.
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    Elite Member ConstanceSpry's Avatar
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    ^^Yes, Friday prices seem to higher, plus way more crowded. We try to fly/return midweek. And not even close to any holidays.
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    I wanted to let you in on one tip we use. Several different times now we've waited until the last minute (IF and only if it's not a busy travel time of the year, such as spring break) to buy our hotel rooms the day of, through hotwire. There's a nice Wyndhm near Disneyland that typically runs $400 per night on weekends and each time we've gotten the rooms for $110 per night. We've used hotwire last minute in several different cities and never had a problem but again, its always a gamble.
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